President Edington Remarks, September 11 Commemoration

President Edington Remarks, September 11 Commemoration

President Edington Remarks, September 11 Commemoration

President Edington addressing attendees of UDC's September 11 Commemoration

Prepared Remarks

Monday, September 11, 2023

Thank you, Jenne, for that warm introduction.

I am UDC President Maurice D. Edington, and I am honored to be here on this solemn occasion. I’d like to welcome our students, staff, faculty and community members. I would also like to recognize Major General Errol Schwartz, Captain Angelena Garland and the D.C. Advisory Board on Veterans Affairs. Welcome and thank you for being here.

Twenty-two years ago today, our world was forever changed when a coordinated terrorist attack on American soil brought down two gleaming towers in New York, a huge swath of the Pentagon in
Arlington, Virginia, and a plane loaded with passengers over a Pennsylvania field. The day was one of horrific tragedy and unspeakable loss.

In the ensuing days, weeks and months, one thing became clear. Amidst all that darkness, devastation and despair, a light was beginning to emerge: the light of resilience.

In New York, teams of first responders, construction workers and volunteers heroically sifted through the wreckage of the Twin Towers around the clock. At the Pentagon, thousands of public servants returned to work in a burning building. In Pennsylvania, visitors and mourners hung wreaths, baseball caps and American flags at a temporary memorial to remind passersby that those who perished should not be forgotten.

Perhaps no one knows the pain of the September 11th attacks more than one of our own Firebirds, Andrea Doctor. In 2001, Andrea was a nursing student at UDC. Her husband, Johnnie Doctor, Jr., had just begun taking general education classes at the University in hopes of becoming a state trooper. They lived with their two young children in the District.

Johnnie also worked at the Pentagon. On the morning of September 11th, the 32-year-old U.S. Navy information systems technician called his wife from work to help her wake up for her morning classes. She never heard his voice again.

After Johnnie’s passing, Andrea said she asked God to return her husband to her. He responded that she had more work to do here on Earth. When Andrea received her master’s degree in nursing several years later, she says she looked up at the sky and told Johnnie, “This is for you.” His strength, she said, had allowed her to keep moving forward.

Today, Andrea Doctor has a doctorate in nursing science and serves as an associate professor of nursing at UDC Community College. Despite her unfathomable loss, she was somehow able to channel her sorrow into sustenance. She is the human embodiment of that resilient light.

Professor Doctor was unfortunately unable to join us today as she is attending a 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon, but I ask each of you today to look to her example and consider your own resilience. You, too, have sources of strength that you summon to help keep you going, even when taking one more step seems impossible. You, too, have a fire within whose light—though it may flicker—never fades. Look around. The community members gathered here today have undoubtedly dealt with their own personal struggles, and yet, no matter the challenge, they have persevered.

As we reflect on this dark day, let us not forget how we came together—as a country and a community—to move through the darkness, by harnessing that light of resilience.

Thank you.

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